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Quad residents can view rooms on-line

(06/01/99 9:00am)

Patchogue-Medford High School '98 Patchogue, N.Y. Wondering if there will be room for a big-screen television set in your room in the Quad? The answer is probably not, but a new World Wide Web site developed by the Office of Residential Living will allow incoming students to find out the exact space and layout of each room with only a few clicks of the mouse. A virtual visit to will provide students moving into the Quadrangle with approximate measurements of their rooms. Additional information about whether the space has a view of the courtyard, carpeting, window screens, sinks, fireplaces and closets will be available along with a computer-generated blueprint of the room. Officials in the Office of Residential Living said they hope the plans will provide students with a valuable source of information about their new living accommodations. "What we're trying to do is just give people a better picture of what they're going to be moving into," Marketing Coordinator for Housing Services Lynn Rotoli said. She added that it should prove helpful to students to have "a one-stop presence to familiarize themselves with their rooms prior to move-in." But while each page contains a disclaimer stating that sizes are approximate and drawings are not to scale, some of the blueprints could still be misleading. For example, the Quad contains several three-bedroom triples which are not represented as such in the blueprints. Instead, the floor space is given as if there were no walls dividing the space. Also, the fireplaces included in the drawings have long been filled in with bricks and painted over, providing little more than decorative value. And although all information was current as of last summer, some minor characteristics may have changed by now, such as the possibility of carpeting having been pulled up or window screens installed. Still, current students said they thought the new Web site would be a huge help to incoming freshmen. Although blueprints of the rooms have always been available by mail through the Department of Housing Services, Seroska said having the information available on-line will be much more convenient. "Having it on-line is the simplest way -- you can find out exactly what the room you'll be living in looks like at the same time you're doing all of the other things you'll need to be doing on-line to get ready to come to Penn," she said. Information about each of the 1,117 rooms in the Quad was gathered last summer by a group of students from a local high school and turned into blueprints using a specialized computer program. The rooms in the other residences will be catalogued similarly in the future as time and funding permit, Rotoli said.

GUEST COLUMNIST: 40th Street earns broad support

(05/20/99 9:00am)

Last week, ground was broken on the 40th Street revitalization project. On a campus filled with various construction projects, last week's ceremony might have seemed inconsequential. But the ground breaking was more significant than previous ones for it marked the beginning of a project that is unlike any other in recent memory. But Penn's efforts to revitalize 40th Street, including the Sundance Cinemas, the specialty food market, and the parking garage, is one group of projects they can all agree on -- and not just because movie titan Robert Redford's name is attached to it. With the 40th Street revitalization, each of these constituents will see fulfillment of some of their long-standing goals. University President Judith Rodin and Executive Vice President John Fry have frequently voiced their desire to develop University City into a destination area which attracts people from all parts of the city. Sundance Cinemas will play a crucial part in making that happen. As a city, Philadelphia has too few movie theaters to serve the needs of its large population, so any new movie theater is bound to be an attraction. The movie complex will also offer more features than ordinary movie theaters. In addition to eight movie screens, Sundance will also have an espresso bar, a tapas bar, a video store with a selection of independent films and an independent restaurant operated by Stephen Starr. Since it offers such a complete and well-rounded experience -- including entertainment, refreshment, and discussion -- Sundance should also help accomplish another one of Penn officials' goals: having people in the 40th Street area throughout the day and night. Students have found much to be happy about with these new projects. One of Penn students' biggest complaints over the years has been the lack of a grocery store on campus. Students have said that the closest "real" supermarket to campus, Brown's Thriftway, is too far away to adequately meet their needs. The new supermarket that is also a part of the 40th Street revitalization, Fresh, will address these concerns. The market will provide the range of products available in a regular supermarket and will emphasize fresh foods. It will also have many other offerings that should appeal to students including an indoor and outdoor cafe (which will serve beer and wine), a sushi bar and a juice bar. Another longstanding student grievance is the lack of entertainment options available on campus. Sundance will go a long way to alleviate that concern. Most importantly, however, the 40th Street revitalization is perhaps the greatest success in University officials' efforts to improve relations with the surrounding community over the past few years. One way the project accomplished this goal was the extensive consultation University officials engaged in with the community. Penn officials solicited ideas from the community about what type of ventures they wanted to see in 40th Street and made sure to incorporate these suggestions. The people involved with the various projects made sure the aspects did not just appeal to students and others directly related to Penn, but to all members of the University City community. The projects are also important to Penn-community relations because they show the University's commitment to the 40th Street area. When Penn began construction of Sansom Common on the north side of campus two years ago, many community leaders feared University officials had abandoned interest in revitalizing the western side of campus. But the ambitious plans for 40th Street and the University's willingness to fund most of its $33.8 million cost put these concerns at rest. Although the 40th Street revitalization projects make most people happy, they are not without their potential downsides. The Sundance Cinemas model is untested in the real world and, while it looks great on paper, no one knows yet how it well it will actually pan out. Also, the project has already forced two long terms University City retailers to close, University City Nautilus and Burger King. While these are not huge concerns, it is important to remember to exercise some caution in the midst of all the excitement about the new movie complex, specialty food market and parking lot. It is a rare event when University officials, students and community members all are happy about the same thing, which is why the ground breaking for the 40th Street projects was so special. As these projects are completed over the next year, one hopes that these moments will become much less rare.

COLUMN: A DPOSTMite recalls three special Quakers sports memories

(05/14/99 9:00am)

Maybe that's because it was almost yesterday. The odds were not in my favor when I applied to transfer to Penn and Wharton for my junior year. I had almost forgotten about my candidacy; I was at peace knowing that I had done all I could to outline my case for coming here. All of that changed on May 10, 1997. My NYU friends were shocked that, in an instant, I would be leaving "the city." My high school friends, however, knew that Penn was where I wanted to be all along. · And so I made the move. I had attended the 1997 Division III Women's Final Four, which host NYU won on a last-second steal and layup. Still, being from the event town that is New York, I longed for Division I sports. I liked the tradition of Ivy League athletics and figured that if I could not play intercollegiate sports at this level, then I might as well write about it. This, my 57th and final write-up for the DP, highlights memories from three of the five sports I have covered. · My first game on the women's basketball beat was back in November '97 against St. Joseph's, a 91-45 pounding that even I could not watch. In the midst of a tough night, then-freshman forward Diana Caramanico stuck out from the crowd with some tough shots in the lane. In a post-game interview, I gave her every chance to give reasons for the sizable defeat, but Diana refused to make any excuses. With a 9-43 record in its prior two years, the team, off to an 0-2 start, gave me little reason to believe that Diana's "no excuses" approach was anything more than playerspeak. But Diana's words proved to be prophetic when the team finally played tough against a top opponent. Facing current WNBA player Allison Feaster's Harvard squad, a team that was supposed to roll over any and every Ivy opponent, the Quakers posted the biggest run I have ever personally witnessed -- coming back from 42-15 with a 30-9 sprint to end the first half. Harvard's supporters, having just traveled six hours to root for their Crimson, were stunned as Penn pumped in basket after basket. During the timeouts, it was Harvard who searched for answers, while the few Penn fans at the Palestra cheered as loud as a Harvard crowd 20 times as large. Even though the Crimson turned up the heat in the second half and beat the Quakers by 26, the mood change that had taken place during the Penn comeback was something special that could not have been foreseen. Harvard later went on to become the first No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed when it upset Stanford in the first round of the Tournament. But, for one half, David unexpectedly had an Ivy League Goliath on the ropes. · My first line in the recap of Penn football's Ivy League opener at Dartmouth talked about the possibility of Penn needing to buy new goal posts after the season. I must admit that I was more than a little concerned about making such a prediction after just one game. However, those who made the trip to an unusually humid Hanover, N.H., saw the foundation of the season built late in the fourth quarter on the Quakers' last major series, which I call Penn's version of "The Drive." With three people I knew from high school on Ivy football rosters, I had followed the League even before coming to Penn. The first thing I had learned was the importance of winning the first Ivy League game of the season. The "drive" at Hanover resembled something straight from NFL Films, from the fumble recovery that set up the last possessions to the Jim Finn power run through the right side that started the road to the Championship. In front of the typically strong opening-day Dartmouth crowd, all you could hear in the valley was the Quakers' bench cheering as the players realized that they were ready to avenge 1997's humiliating home defeat to the Big Green. The Quakers had started the type of season that I had hoped to see when I arrived at Penn. Ironically, eight weeks later I saw one of the aforementioned high school friends miss catching the final Hail Mary pass for the Crimson at Franklin Field on championship day. He won his own Ivy ring the year before and he also happened to be in attendance when Penn won its last title in 1994, watching the goal posts go down. As the fans tore the goal posts down and again headed for the Schuylkill, everything had come full circle. · Most people saw the men's basketball matchup at Princeton on March 2, whether it was at a bar with a satellite TV feed, or as one of the lucky Penn fans who made the trip to the "Jadwin Jungle." The "Jungle" didn't scare me, even though it was right behind me and the other writers on press row. The Princeton fans tried their hardest, but were little match for the Penn fans' loud chants of "N-I-T!" Yet, in the midst of the euphoria, the significance of the event really hit senior tri-captain Paul Romanczuk, who was still in disbelief as the media asked the usual set of stale questions. I was already bewildered by the magnitude of the blowout and by how quiet and empty Jadwin was when I left the place at midnight. But, what really was apparent that night was what the win meant to Romanczuk. Upon returning to campus, I made a rare trip to Smoke's. After saying hello to several people, Romanczuk offered a high-five to me. That really hit me, beyond the fact that I was in the good graces of one of the many athletes that I had written about in the last two years. Surprisingly, it was the first time that I really thought about how the people we write about also live among us. I had always tried hard, maybe too hard, to keep my distance from the people I wrote about week in and week out, just to maintain a sense of professionalism when Penn teams did not have good days. With that in mind, if there's one thing I should mention before wrapping this up, it's a thank you to all the people on all the beats I covered -- the teams I have mentioned earlier, as well as women's soccer and men's lacrosse -- who endured many of the same questions over and over again. And of course, thanks to the DP, especially DP sports, for the opportunity to cover some of the best Penn sports moments in recent memory.

COLUMN: Bag searches: a poor idea gone bad

(04/19/99 9:00am)

For all the administrative talk over the last few weeks encouraging students to "Do The Right Fling," University officials did not practice what they preached this weekend. In an effort to prevent underage students from bringing alcohol into University dorms, the administration made a fatal error: mishandling the entire process of searching students' bags as they entered. Not only did University officials fail to notify students of the searches before Fling but they also tolerated the searches being conducted in a horribly unreasonable and haphazard fashion. Police officers, who are government agents, may not, for example, search an individual without probable cause -- but Penn is not a government agent, nor any other type of public institution. Similar logic supports other private universities' policies banning alcohol in their dorms at all times. Where University President Judith Rodin, Provost Robert Barchi and other administrators are at fault, however, is in not explicitly communicating that bag searches would occur in dorms. All sorts of communication was flying around campus in the days leading up to Fling but none of that dialogue mentioned bag searches. Last Wednesday, for instance, Student Life Director Fran Walker sent an e-mail message to students highlighting several new non-alcoholic events added to Fling weekend. And College junior Bryan Grossman, one of Fling's coordinators, sent out an e-mail message emphasizing the weekend's policies -- both new and old, alcohol- and non-alcohol-related. No containers would be allowed in the Quad, he wrote, and security guards would be checking bags. But nowhere among the nine policies listed did Grossman ever alert students to the fact that bag searches would occur at other dorms. University officials themselves also failed to publicize the policy. Despite extensive press coverage of the alcohol task force's meetings last week, Barchi and Rodin never gave even the slightest indication that bag searches would occur. When the administration finally informed students of the policy via e-mail, Fling was already well underway. In an e-mail message to residents of Hamilton College House Saturday morning, House Dean Roberta Stack said she had only received an announcement regarding the policy late Friday night. The announcement Stack forwarded came from Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, the vice provost for University Life. In the message, the administration for the first time publicized the bag search policy -- despite Fling being well past half over. Given such suspicious circumstances, one can not help wondering what motivated the administration's actions. Did administrators not publicize the policy because they hoped to catch as many students off guard as possible? Or did they not have their act together for one of the most important weekends of the year? Whatever the reasoning behind the lack of communication, the University botched the bag search policy. What could have served as a preventive measure -- deterring underage students who might have tried to bring alcohol into their dorms -- became a punitive measure, busting students who did not know any better. Making such questionable communication even worse was the haphazard way in which students were confronted with the policy. While searches were occurring regularly at some dorms, such as the Quad and the three high rises, other dorms went search-free. Security guards also seemed to randomly target certain students. In what seems like some sort of alcohol profiling, many students passed through gates without a search, yet others had to open up all their belongings. Even worse, the guards conducting the searches were often blatantly rude. One female student bringing alcohol into Hamilton College House was stopped by a guard and asked for identification. The student, a senior who turned 21 in January, handed her ID to the guard, who responded, "You're barely 21." Shocked at such an absurd judgment and ridiculous logic, the student allowed the guard to see how much alcohol she had -- but she felt the guard would not let her through no matter how little alcohol she had. Finally, the guard told her, "I guess if that's all you have, it's OK." What is not OK is such treatment towards students, both on the part of security guards and on the part of administrators. If the administration hopes to work with students in devising new alcohol policies, it must work with them, not against them.

UConn star El-Amin busted for possession of marijuana

(04/14/99 9:00am)

The Associated Press HARTFORD, Conn. -- Khalid El-Amin, who helped Connecticut win its first national championship just 15 days ago, was arrested yesterday and charged with possession of marijuana. The sophomore point guard was in a car when he was arrested and charged with possession of less than four ounces of marijuana, police said. He was also charged with a minor traffic infraction. Another UConn star, junior Richard Hamilton, was with El-Amin when he was arrested, according to Lt. Mike Manzi, a police spokesperson. Hamilton, a first-team All-American, was not charged. But members of the Statewide Narcotics Task Force, who made the arrest, impounded the late-model red Cadillac the players were in. Police would not say to whom the car is registered. El-Amin was hustled out of a police substation in the city's North End around 6 p.m. and taken to the main police station, where he was booked and released on a written promise to appear in Hartford Superior Court on Thursday. About a dozen teenagers had gathered at the substation on news of the arrest. They cheered as El-Amin eluded reporters and dived into the backseat of the waiting cruiser. Richard Johnson, an attorney who represented El-Amin yesterday said the player would have no comment. Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun issued a statement late yesterday saying he will ''deal with the matter within our program.'' ''We are in the business of educating and that is an on-going process,'' he said. ''I'll stand by Khalid's side as this matter is resolved to help insure that he fully understands his position as a highly visible student-athlete and role model.'' El-Amin, a 5'10" point guard, led the Huskies (36-2) to a 77-74 victory over top-ranked Duke in the national championship game on March 29. It was the school's first trip to the Final Four. El-Amin announced last week that he would return to UConn for his junior season rather than make himself eligible for the NBA draft. He started 71 games and became the third UConn player to score 1,000 points as a sophomore. For the past two seasons, he has averaged 14.9 points and 4.1 assists. He finished second on the team in scoring this season with 13.8 points per game and led the team in assists with 140. El-Amin was voted to the Final Four all-tournament team after scoring 30 points and handing out 10 assists in the wins over Ohio State and Duke. El-Amin's arrest came one day after Minneapolis North High School in Minnesota retired his jersey. El-Amin graduated from North in 1997 after leading the Polars to three consecutive state championships.

COLUMN: A show of unity, sisterhood

(04/06/99 9:00am)

From Dina Bass', "No Loss for Words," Fall '99 From Dina Bass', "No Loss for Words," Fall '99Few events have suffered from the as a high a level of bad publicity as Take Back the Night, designed for a cause everyone professes to believe in: rape awareness. Student misconceptions about the event abound, from men who think they will be greeted by a representatives of the Women's Center looking to chop off their testicles to women who believe the event is merely for militant feminists. The bad publicity is not entirely undeserved. Over the years, the program has provoked some controversy. In 1996, a male student used the open-mic "Survivor Speak-Out" to express his remorse for having committed a rape, horrifying survivors attending the event. The following year, SAS graduate student Litty Paxton rose to explain a new policy baring men from speaking -- and succeeded in offending most of the audience. While correct in substance, Paxton's remarks were phrased in the most undiplomatic fashion possible. Last year, however, the program's planners -- the National Organization for Women and Students Together Against Acquaintance Rape -- went out of their way to assure that the program avoided such problems by clearly stating what role they expected male attendees to take and by including male rape survivors in a smaller survivors-only session after the main program. This year, men will not march but will participate in the Speak-Out. As a Take Back the Night attendee for the last two years, I strongly encourage Penn students to attend this year's program. The support you lend to the cause of rape awareness and to Penn's rape survivors is immense and the lessons in strength and courage you can learn from the women who speak are immeasurable. It is a mistake for women to assume that the event is only for militant feminists, lesbians or active members of the Women's Center. If the Justice Department tells us that one in five women is the victim of rape or attempted rape, as women we must continue to speak out against rape and its causes. More importantly, we need to show solidarity for rape victims. For the women who speak at the Survivor Speak-Out, recounting their experiences is both painful and therapeutic, a moment to cry and to show strength. It helps a lot to have a crowd full of women who show sympathy and provide encouragement, even if it is something as simple and silly as clapping and yelling "you go, girl." Take Back the Night is not anti-men. It is anti-rape and anti-rapist, which means that unless you are the type of guy who sees himself as a potential rapist, the event shouldn't threaten you. The other bone of contention with some male students is the fact that event organizers often ask men not to participate either in the Speak-Out or the march. Each year the participation of men in the various parts of the event is re-evaluated, often with different results. Last year men marched but were asked not to speak, this year the men will not march but will be allowed to share their stories as survivors. The exclusion of men from either part of the program asks men to respect the fact that Take Back the Night is an evening celebrating women's voices and the ability to combat rape and support survivors through sisterhood. The same reasoning applies to the decision to ask men to stay behind during the march. The march around campus symbolizes women helping each other conquer dark and threatening areas; having men along reminds women of the unfortunate need for male escorts on the way home. Rape awareness should be an important issue for the men of Penn and not just because your girlfriend wants you to attend. Sadly many men already know this: female rape is not just a female problem. The approximately 300,000 women raped every year in the U.S. have brothers, fathers, husbands, boyfriends and friends. During my first Take Back the Night, a sister from one of several sororities that made pledges attend answered a pledge who asked why they were required to attend. "This is what sisterhood is all about," was the answer. Take Back the Night isn't about politics or gender wars. It's about sisterhood in the face of the appalling reality of rape in America and it's about brotherhood supporting that same cause.

GUEST COLUMNIST: The need for student voices

(03/31/99 10:00am)

I write both as a member of the student body and as someone who has been a part of the development of non-alcoholic events on campus through my involvement with the Tangible Change Committee. In addition to its overall purpose of fostering collaboration of student leaders to achieve "tangible change" on Penn's campus, President Rodin charged the Tangible Change Committee with an even greater responsibility this year -- the development of non-alcoholic campus-wide events. Thus, throughout this year those of us on the Tangible Change Committee have worked hard to foster cooperation between student groups in order to develop events on campus supplementing the already existing social atmosphere at Penn with alcohol-free options. Our work had been quite successful this year as student group collaboration and participation in non-alcoholic community events was on the rise. LoveFest, WinterFest and Homecoming were but a few of the success stories. President Rodin was quick to associate herself with these successes in her recent public relations letter to the campus and community. Yet she was quick to forget her association with our committee and other student committees when announcing her supposed solution to the "alcohol problem" on campus. While Tangible Change maintained an open mind and worked with the administration throughout the year, how quickly we have witnessed President Rodin's mind close to the voice of the students. I find the lack of involvement of students in the recent policy decisions unacceptable. Student leaders offer a necessary insight into the student body's views and reactions to changes made on campus and for this reason help to bring success to initiatives on campus. The administration should not be burning bridges with students but rather should be working to strengthen those bridges. If it is the behavior of students that the administration is concerned with, then it is students they should be working with. Due to a lack of communication with the student body, the administration's recent policy has begun to, and will continue to, bring great harm to the University in many ways. Rather than encouraging students to work with them to achieve the goals that we all desire -- an environment in which we can all enjoy collegiate life safely -- the brash move of the administration has caused a spirit of rebelliousness and resentment among students. These attitudes will now impede cooperation of the general student body with any of the proactive educational projects and non-alcoholic alternatives that had been gaining success on campus. Certainly, alcohol abuse is present to some degree on campus and a more intensive effort to enforce the rules and regulations which had already been in place on campus is required. However, the instantaneous overhaul of Penn's alcohol policies has, as the Daily Pennsylvanian editorial board pointed out on Monday, severely compromised the well-being of the student body ("The lessons of a weekend," DP, 3/29/99). The administration claims they are looking out for the safety of students, when in reality they are gravely jeopardizing it. When Tangible Change accepted the administration's challenge to implement non-alcoholic programming on campus, it did so gladly, in the hopes that it could supplement the existing social atmosphere at Penn with non-alcoholic alternatives. I know that we never intended to obliterate the existing traditions which already hold a special place in the hearts of Penn students and alumni. Penn has been known in a positive context, not a negative one, for its safe and exciting social atmosphere. The administration, in an attempt to "look good" has instead made Penn "look bad," dismantling many of the traditions that have held a place in Penn's calendar for years, and placing a negative connotation upon a reputation which has always carried a positive one. Is this really the impression the administration chooses to leave on the thousands of prospective students who will be visiting our beloved campus during the next couple weeks of Penn Previews? The administration needs to seriously re-examine its recent policy and the far-reaching implications it carries with it. More importantly, I urge President Rodin, Provost Barchi and the administration to not simply allow students to voice their opinions at a task force meeting but to actually listen to what the task force has to say and seriously work with the task force to develop policy. Only by working with students will any initiative the administration passes help to strengthen our community and make it a safer one, rather than break down our community and make it a riskier one.

COLUMN: Discovering a reason to protest

(02/08/99 10:00am)

From Michelle Weinberg, "For Every Action," Fall '99 From Michelle Weinberg, "For Every Action," Fall '99This Saturday, I attended my first protest. I'd always thought about attending a protest, but I've never really had the courage. Thoughts of radical protesters getting arrested and screaming at people in the streets ran through my mind. At the protest, we dressed in orange aprons, trying to look like Home Depot employees. We handed out "coupons" to people entering the store with our message printed on both sides. We dropped a banner off the roof of the building -- a slightly illegal act, but nobody got caught. And we chanted "mahogany and cedar, rain forests die by meter" and "Home Depot sucks, don't waste your bucks." It was an amazing feeling to know that my voice was being heard -- the megaphone I was shouting into certainly helped in that effort -- and that we were making an impact. Walking through the parking lot and talking to people was also a thrilling feeling -- people were really receptive to hearing about our cause and listening as we answered their questions. Student protest has always been a means for social awareness and change. This past weekend, 27 students at Georgetown University occupied the office of the university president in protest of Georgetown's role in the sweatshop industry. Last week, 100 students at Notre Dame went on a hunger strike, demonstrating to have homosexuality protected by Notre Dame's anti-discrimination policy. The long-term impacts of these protests have yet to be seen, but they have gained attention and support for their causes across the country. Protesters are often quickly dismissed as crazy radicals. But don't automatically discount demonstrators because you are uncomfortable with the idea of speaking out for change. Students around the world are willing to risk their lives in the name of a cause in which they believe. In Nigeria, youth protesters were killed by soldiers as they demonstrated against oil companies destroying their land. And none of us can think about student protest without recalling the tragic slaughter of Chinese dissidents in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Unlike these foreign protesters, we live in a society where free speech and free expression are taken for granted. It is our right to speak out for or against any issue that upsets us. Yet most of us never do speak out and look strangely upon those who are willing to try. The majority of Penn's student body seems to be apathetic to anything that occurs beyond the imaginary walls of the University of Pennsylvania. Most Penn students don't care about anything that does not have a direct and immediate impact upon their own lives. We cannot spend our lives hiding inside the ivory tower. Phrases like human rights and social justice are thrown around in intellectual discussion, yet very few of us seem willing to take a stand. People seem afraid to make up their minds. Claiming that "I don't know enough about the issue to take a stance" or "This issue doesn't really affect me" is simply taking the easy way out. Get educated about issues, take a stand and speak out. Remaining silent about an issue is the same as condoning it. I have always believed in speaking out against injustice, and have written letters, petitioned, organized speakers and generally talked up issues that I felt were socially important. Yet even I, a self-proclaimed activist, was wary of demonstrations and protests, wondering if the visual impact actually served as an effective means for awareness and education

GUEST COLUMNIST: Kors: Penn, Hackney mishandled 'water buffalo' case

(12/07/98 10:00am)

What Hackney's own Student Judicial Charter actually said was that once a defendant broke confidentiality, "any person whose character or integrity might reasonably be questioned shall have a right to respond in an appropriate forum." Thus, at the height of the case, plaintiffs discussed it with The Los Angeles Times. The problem Hackney faced was that the facts of the case demonstrated the injustice of his regime. His mixing of what Eden Jacobowitz said and what others allegedly said gives you some idea of his notion of individual responsibility. Hackney's attempt to portray this event in terms of right versus left will not stand up to scrutiny. His primary antagonist was the Pennsylvania ACLU. His problem was not Rush Limbaugh but precisely the liberal media: The Forward, which broke the story, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times, NBC News and CNN, among others. They all sent independent reporters who interviewed both administrators, appalled by Penn's injustice, and students at Penn, including, by their accounts, scores of African-American students, who found the prosecution absurd and preposterous. On the same day that Hackney portrayed himself as the victim of a "right-wing" conspiracy in its newspages, The Washington Post itself editorialized about Penn's "Speech-Code Silliness," terming it a paradigm of overbreadth, vagueness and arbitrary prosecutions. The Philadelphia Daily News, in an editorial, called the Penn administration "a herd of dik-diks." Had the editor been a Penn student, the term would have led to his or her prosecution. When the case began, I asked Hackney if the Judicial Inquiry Officer could legislate or must merely follow Penn's policy. Steve Steinberg, Hackney's assistant, called me a day later, and informed me that yes, in Hackney's view, the charges stipulated against Jacobowitz merited judicial adjudication. The Judicial Inquiry Officer was applying Hackney's policy. Under oath, however, before the U.S. Senate, Hackney replied as follows to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) who asked if, under Penn's code, the case should have occurred: "No, I think that this was a misapplication of that policy in the circumstances." In his letter to the DP, Hackney places great importance on the race of the students in this case. Here, however, is what he told the U.S. Senate, under oath, during his confirmation hearings for chairperson of the National Endowment for the Humanities. When asked about political correctness, Hackney said: "It would be a serious problem if it were to capture a campus.? There are various forms of political correctness? but I think in general one can think of it as a term that refers to being overly solicitous of the rights of minority groups and of fashionable and trendy concerns in the present. I think that is one form that could be quite worrisome because you want to have a very balanced and fair approach to things on campus." Dr. Hackney, meet Dr. Hackney. Hackney intervened in the judicial system several times, and in this case repeatedly. I invite the interested to read a chapter from The Shadow University about the water buffalo incident on-line at How did the case end? Before witnesses, members of Clinton's transition team told me that Hackney's nomination to the NEH could not "bear much further scrutiny" and they asked "how the case was playing in the Jewish press." I told them that Jacobowitz would pursue justice and that the case was playing quite badly in "the Jewish press." They asked me to send them those papers. One week later, whether causally related or not I do not know, Hackney called me from Washington, D.C. -- he left the number with my son, and I took contemporaneous notes on the conversation -- to ask if Jacobowitz would be satisfied if the women dropped the case and the University dropped the charges. That sequence of events occurred exactly as Hackney proposed it. Hackney wonders why I could not find him while writing the book. What I possessed was better: the record of his policies, actions, words and double standards during his exercise of power. If someone tells me, "This has to end, Alan," I don't have to call him to ask if he said, "This has to end, Alan." Hackney writes of "shared governance" at Penn. Having both centralized power and destroyed that shared governance, infantilizing students and marginalizing the faculty, he lacks the moral authority to utter those words. I hope that there is no revival of his failed policies. Human relations have improved at Penn now that students are treated more equally and freely. I co-founded and lived in Van Pelt College House from 1971 to 1978. After its first year, it never was less than 20 percent black, simply because it acquired a reputation as a good place to be an individual. We had Maoist revolutionaries and College Republicans, black radicals and black conservatives, gay rights advocates and the Campus Crusade for Christ, all living under the same roof, without speech codes and without social engineering. They offended each other frequently, but far more than Sheldon Hackney ever could dream, they learned to talk to each other, to understand each other, to humanize their relationships and to live with each other in freedom and dignity. His balkanized and paternalistic vision of a university was a sad alternative.

EDITORIAL: Buying into the housing market

(11/12/98 10:00am)

Penn's purchase of 200 rental units could be a big boost for the neighborhoods in University City. Penn's purchase of 36 University City buildings containing 200 rental units marks one of the University's largest real estate deals in recent years, though the parties involved have refused to disclose the terms. More important than the size of the purchase, the deal to buy Campus Associates fits perfectly into the University's ultimate goal of stabilizing and improving the neighborhoods surrounding campus. For years, community members have rightfully complained about a transient student population that is messy and loud. Though this description by no means extends to all students, we recognize that a strong neighborhood must contain owner-residents with strong ties to the community. Though Penn's decision to buy such a large chunk of area property and use part of it to attract faculty and staff to University City was wise, we hope that this does not become a trend that deprives students of the opportunity to live off campus. One of the University's strongest draws is that it is a city school, and a major part of that stems from being able to live in a community where you are exposed to people who are not college students. One worrisome aspect of this deal is that the public was not made aware of it in July, when Penn actually bought the houses. University officials have been very conscious over the past few years of how they are perceived -- and as a result have tread carefully and tried to avoid the popular perception that Penn only makes West Philadelphia decisions unilaterally. As a result, it's all the more puzzling why officials didn't come forward, announce their purchase and explain its intended effects. Given the contentious history of Penn buying land, demolishing the buildings on it and then rebuilding, it seems that much more important for Penn to let students and community members in on major property purchases after they occur. Fortunately, in this case the effects of the purchase appear to be in line with many of the University's other large recent initiatives in the community -- well-guided and with lots of potential for University City.

AROUND HIGHER EDUCATION: No charges for Princeton grad

(11/11/98 10:00am)

The Daily Princetonian (U-WIRE) -- The eight-month saga that began with a firecracker exploding in a sold-out Palestra has come to an unexpected end after Philadelphia prosecutors decided not to seek extradition for 1998 Princeton University graduate David Meehan. Despite the fact that Meehan confessed to the crime during testimony at the trial of his friend and classmate Jason Brasno, Assistant District Attorney Jan McDermott said that her office had decided not to pursue any further legal action against Meehan. "I wasn't certain that we could say that [Meehan] was the doer when we said all along it was Brasno," McDermott said. "Some people in this office are of the opinion that you can't do that." After Common Pleas Judge A.J. DeFino acquitted Brasno of all charges in October, it had looked as though Meehan would be booked for the same crime. After the verdict was read, McDermott had said Meehan would be extradited "if I have anything to do with it." On Monday, Brasno's attorney Richard Brown released a statement after learning of McDermott's decision from The Daily Princetonian: "Mrs. McDermott's comments are puzzling. David Meehan came forward on March 9, just six days after the incident, and made a full concession to three deans at Princeton. He later made full restitution to every person known to have suffered property damage. His degree was withheld. He waived his privilege against self-incrimination. Finally, he exposed himself to a perjury prosecution if his testimony was untruthful. "No one would do all this merely to save a friend. There is no reason to doubt Mr. Meehan's repeated confessions; he is the one responsible for the firecracker, not Mr. Brasno," he said in his written statement. "The assistant district attorney's unwillingness to accept the court's decision undermines the system she works for," he added. McDermott said Monday she was disappointed with the decision of her office not to take action against Meehan, even though she said she continues to believe that Brasno was the true culprit. "I think the whole thing is unfortunate, but we have to live with it," McDermott said. "I had a theory, and I have to live with that." Meehan could not be reached for comment Monday.

EDITORIAL: Penn problem, societal problem

(09/16/98 9:00am)

When determining how to approach binge drinking, officials must realize their limitations. The recent recognition of this problem by the University-wide task force charged with targeting campus binge drinking is a positive step. University administrators are in a difficult position: They are often held responsible when serious consequences result from alcohol abuse, but because of the way alcohol is ingrained in American culture, there is only so much they can do to prevent that abuse. Penn officials must recognize their limitations when implementing new anti-alcohol policies. That is not to say they should throw up their hands in defeat. There are definitely measures among the task force's recommendations that could be effective in deterring alcohol abuse. And, alternatively, some of the recommended measures are misdirected. Penn has already begun to take some steps in the right direction. Encouraging late-night retail, organizing alcohol-free events and providing space for student-generated evening activities is by far the best way to combat binge drinking. The "Penn p.m." program begun last week, which included sports competitions and coffee houses, has already seen high attendance. And student response was favorable toward the possibility that the former Phi Sigma Kappa house on Locust Walk might become a student center. And, because the problem of alcohol abuse is so widespread, focusing on minutiae such as increasing Friday courses and restricting the number of evening College of General Studies courses undergraduates may take won't get us anywhere. It is true that campus culture is currently too permissive about excessive drinking. But promoting an atmosphere of prohibition is not the way to go. Students who choose to drink should take responsibility for their actions. And if a situation becomes serious, they should know how best to help their friends.

GUEST COLUMNIST: Education above punitive measures

(09/16/98 9:00am)

The Harvard College Alcohol Report is back and its conclusions are not surprising. The report states that binge drinking is still high on college campuses and that Greeks in particular are "at the center of the campus alcohol culture." It also concludes that binge drinking has not declined significantly, despite punitive measures by universities, and that most Greeks living in a fraternity or sorority house drink. Greeks at this university are unique and different from many of our counterparts across the nation. We are one of the only Greek systems nationwide, and one of the only groups on campus, that mandates two types of alcohol training (TIPS and Drug and Alcohol Resource Team workshops) for our members. This is especially important given that studies have shown that education is the best way to combat harmful drinking. Our education seminars have two goals: To educate our members on how to deal with alcohol responsibly and how to handle those who have taken it too far. So not only will the bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood ensure that a person will be taken care of, but everyone from our pledges to our senior members knows how to handle a potentially harmful situation. While the Harvard study may warn of Greek excesses, we want to remind those in the Penn community of our educational process that places us in the foreground among other Greek systems and other groups on campus. That being said, I am not going to deny that Greeks drink more frequently than many students. But one must take into account that we are some of the most social students on campus. Many of our members join a house, as opposed to a performing arts group, athletic team or other extracurricular activity, for the friendship and support involved. Furthermore, social activities, even in the real world, often revolve around alcohol. American society teaches that good ways to spend time with your friends are over drinks. Why else would there be so many bars, cocktail parties or just people getting together over a beer to discuss old times? Additionally, the alternative social outlets on campus are limited. If there were competing social organizations that provided a viable alternative to Greek life, their drinking rates would be just as high. The reality, as the report indicates, is that many of those students who binge drink in college did the same in high school. They are doing nothing new in college, and if they are Greek, they are receiving infinitely more education on alcohol than previously. But beyond all this, perhaps the report's most important indication is that the methods used by most universities, which are mainly punitive and include heavy sanctions against both drinkers and fraternities, have failed; otherwise the numbers would have gone down. Given that such measures appear to be counterproductive, Penn Greeks are in a far better position to deal with the problem of binge drinking than any other group on campus. At Penn we educate, choosing neither to preach nor sanction recklessly. This is not to say, however, that punishments aren't handed down. The InterFraternity Council, through the Judicial Inquiry Board, sanctions houses for violations of policies that could make events unsafe. Greeks at Penn are united in our desire to create a campus that remains "the social ivy" as well as an institution where students are educated and safe. This explains our collaboration on educational efforts, and coordinated attempts to ensure students' safety at our functions. We have achieved an excellent balance. Let us only hope that this report will not scare the University into taking more draconian steps that have evidently failed elsewhere.

Job prospects good for recent grads, national survey says

(07/23/98 9:00am)

The Associated Press Camille Luckenbaugh has some advice for college graduates who have been wasting their summer lounging on their parents' couch: get a job. Starting salaries for recent college graduates are on the rise, according to a July survey of 150 colleges by the Allentown, Pa.-based National Association of Colleges and Employers. ''The economy is strong, unemployment is low,'' said Luckenbaugh, NACE's employment information manager. ''It's definitely easier to find a job now then it was 10 years ago.'' ''Judging from my friends' success? it doesn't seem that difficult,'' Meehan said. ''I'm not too worried about finding a job.'' Pat Rose, Penn's director of career services, said Meehan's feelings are typical. ''Students are a little more relaxed, a little less nervous, because there's so much opportunity now,'' Rose said. Engineers -- especially petroleum engineers -- are making the most money, according to the survey. Their average starting salary is $50,156, up 15.5 percent from 10 months ago. Computer science majors, perhaps buoyed by recent fears over the Y2K bug that is threatening to wreak computer havoc when the calendar strikes 2000, average $41,561 a year, up 11.7 percent from September 1997, the survey reported. Liberal arts and psychology graduates, traditionally among the lowest paid, have made significant increases as well, according to the survey. Students graduating with English degrees can expect an average starting salary of $27,608, up 15.9 percent from last year. Psychology students, while still not making the big bucks of their engineering counterparts, are up 8.9 percent since September, bring the average starting salary to $25,499. Tom Novak, a career coordinator at Temple University, said there has been about a 10 percent increase this year in on-campus recruiting, especially in information technology, computer science and marketing. Some employers are actively wooing students with signing bonuses. Bob Perkoski, director of placement and career services at the University of Pittsburgh, said that some employers set up a cafe and served latte in order to get students' attention. The story is the same at Widener University in Delaware County. Career Advising Director Mary Pennington said they have seen a 29 percent increase in the number of companies conducting interviews on campus. Pennington has had to change the way she councils students because the job market is so good. ''We find ourselves giving more advice on how to handle multiple offers,'' Pennington said. This means that students can demand higher starting salaries then in previous years, she said. ''The salaries, especially in the technical areas, have been up over last year,'' Pennington said. But students shouldn't let the abundance of jobs lull them into a false sense of security. Novak is still giving his students the same advice he always gives: ''Start early.''

GUEST COLUMNIST: Summer of my discontent

(07/02/98 9:00am)

I have known since practically my freshman year that this summer -- the summer of 1998, the summer before my senior year of college, my last summer before being kicked out into the world -- this summer I would be a proud paid intern of Random House. Or the New Yorker. Or MTV or Rolling Stone or at the very least some big New York law firm. What I did this summer was going to determine what I was going to do with the rest of my life. Well that all went to hell, didn't it? If I were to determine my future based on what I'm doing with my summer right now, I'd grow up to be a jobless leech, a virtual sloth with minimal social interaction and no source of income, not to mention a dental plan. Where did I go wrong? Is it me? Or should I not be worrying about how many reruns of The Cosby Show I've seen this week? A little of both, he says, loathe to give a concrete answer even in an opinion column. But it's the truth. I tried, really I did. I got my Random House dream job application in in plenty of time. I went to New York for the interview. I smiled all the time that moron in Human Resources asked me inane questions straight off my resume. She hadn't even heard of The Atlantic Monthly. Not that I'm bitter. The biggest lesson I've learned in my months of job searching is to cast a wide net. It's great to have a dream of a perfect job. You may very well get it. But if you pursue that job with single-minded ambition, you're probably going to miss out on something else, and that something could be very necessary if Random House's HR manager turns out to be an idiot. Of course, I'm not still bitter. So, no, I didn't have a back-up for Random House. It didn't help that Random House doesn't notify until late May, when most internships have already been filled for two months, but I think that if I had had another possibility lined up I could be of some use to society right now. But I did get a job, you'll be happy to know. Like I have done for the past two summers, I decided to make a deal with the devil and work for (gasp!) Barnes & Noble. I quit last Tuesday, and despite the fact that the highlight of each day since then has been Jeopardy!, I don't regret the decision -- with the possible exception of the fact that after paying my rent this week, my net worth is about $350. They had me peeling price stickers off the back of every book in the store, for gosh sakes. Every last stinkin' volume that the store has picked up since it opened. I'm sure that the work needed to be done, but to me, the misery of sore fingernails and an unoccupied mind was not worth the paycheck. On my third day of employment, a little bit of that summer-after-junior-year anxiety hit me. I couldn't respect myself for doing a brainless and repetitive job that a monkey could be trained to do. I should be analyzing mutual funds on Wall Street for $12 an hour. I should be clerking for the Chief Justice. I should be interning at the White House. Well, maybe that last option isn't really a job that a man like myself is particularly cut out for. But it's July now. I'm certainly not going to get that big summer-after-junior-year internship. I may not even be able to land a part-time job at this point without lying about my availability in the fall. My situation would almost be a little bit depressing if I hadn't come to a bit of a realization: an "important" internship really doesn't mean that much. At least not to me. The cynic in me (which, by the way, is a big part of me) wants to think that major international corporations dangle these "prestigious" internships as a way to get cheap labor to do their Xeroxing during the summer. Even the least cynical parts of me see corporate internships as a way of sucking unsuspecting youths into the big nasty corporate world. OK, so maybe I am a little bitter. But what, really, would one of these internships have gotten me, a liberal arts major with tentative law school plans? Not a whole hell of a lot. From what I gather, law school admission is pretty much by-the-numbers, and an internship would not have raised my GPA an iota. And once I've gotten through law school, would a college summer spent doing busywork in a New York skyscraper mean anything when placed next to my law school grades or a summer spent clerking for a judge? I doubt it. So if you're like me, a rising senior with no job prospects, or if you see yourself being in that position someday, don't despair. I'm certainly not crying myself to sleep. Your life will not be determined by a single summer. And in the end your Penn degree will mean so much more than whether you worked to end world hunger or waited tables instead that it's almost funny. So I think I'll take this "opportunity" (a euphemism for not having a job in July, of course) to go to bartending school. It's a respectable job. I'll make a little money. I'll be good at parties. I'll have a skill I can use my whole life, regardless of what profession I enter. And I won't mind listening to my friends who swung summer jobs as apprentice heart surgeons. But even as I tell myself that I can look a budding multinational real estate financier in the eye and think of myself as his or her equal, I feel my secret jealousy welling up. So, I'll end with a plea: if you're still reading this and you have the capacity to hire an English major with a respectable GPA, a love of writing and law school plans, give me a call. Please. I'm available immediately and I'm almost always home. I'll make you a killer martini for your trouble.

Chodorow quits provost job, loses UT bid

(06/01/98 9:00am)

Tenafly High School '96 Tenafly, N.J. Former University Provost Stanley Chodorow learned an unfortunate lesson this year -- sometimes, not everything goes according to plan. In late October, Chodorow, 54, announced he was resigning his position, the top academic post at the University, to pursue the vacant presidency at the University of Texas at Austin. And that is exactly what happened. The University of Texas System Board of Regents instead chose Larry Faulkner, provost of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as president of the country's largest university. The January 12 announcement came 1 1/2 months after Chodorow resigned his Penn position to pursue the post. But his original decision to resign was hardly a surprise to the University community, as UT-Austin was at least the fifth school in a year to contact Chodorow about presidential openings. Since the fall of 1996, the former provost also contended for top posts at the University of Arizona, the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Michigan, coming up short each time. And last November, he was named as one of two finalists for the presidency of Tulane University in New Orleans, but he withdrew from the race, explaining that UT-Austin would be a "better match." Chodorow said the Texas announcement presented him with "the right time" to leave the post he has held since 1994, when he came to Penn from the University of California at San Diego. Although he said that he did not actively seek out any of the positions, Chodorow said he intends "to become a president." Despite a rocky beginning -- in which he was criticized for his handling of a controversial new student judicial code, among other matters -- Chodorow left his position proud of his contributions to the undergraduate experience. He referred specifically to projects such as the 21st Century Plan, an initiative to increase academic and research opportunities, the newly-released college house residential plan and the Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum and the Speaking Across the University projects that were implemented last year. If he had more time, Chodorow said, he would have liked to develop more hubs for focused student groups on campus. Using the Kelly Writers House as a model, he said he would like to see hubs for community service, international programs and visual-arts groups at the University. A search committee comprised of both faculty and students hopes to find a permanent replacement for Chodorow by August. In the meantime, the University selected Deputy Provost Michael Wachter to take over as interim provost, effective January 1. Wachter stressed that Chodorow's initiatives are integral to the transformation of undergraduate education. "It is to Stan Chodorow's credit that much of the fine work he and President Rodin began together has been carried on so effectively and without disruption," Wachter said. "That is a terrific testament to his management and leadership style." And administrators were confident that Chodorow's initiatives had sufficient momentum behind them to survive the provost's departure. "When he left as provost, Dr. Chodorow left a strong, able team of individuals in place to carry on this work," Wachter said. On his major projects, Chodorow worked closely with faculty and administrators, and appointed a student board for the 21st Century Plan to advise administrators on programs under its purview. During his final days as provost, Chodorow headed a committee which investigated officials' handling of star defensive tackle and 1998 College graduate Mitch Marrow's eligibility to play football. Chodorow communicated his findings to the NCAA, which forced Penn to forfeit every winning game in the 1997 season in which Marrow played, dropping Penn's 6-4 record to 1-9. Before he stepped down, Chodorow said he wishes he could have accomplished more, but noted that "you don't have to accomplish everything to accomplish a lot."

Renovations, construction dot Penn campus

(06/01/98 9:00am)

As construction wrapped up on a number of Penn projects, facilities improvements began on others. Newton South High School '96 Newton, Mass. The reverberating rhythms of jackhammers and drills became a customary backdrop to the campus' daily sounds in 1997-98 as the University completed several construction projects, while beginning other additional renovations. Among some smaller renovations inside existing buildings and residences, construction was completed or renovations began on several of the University's most prominent buildings, including the Roy and Diana Vagelos Laboratories, Logan Hall, Van Pelt Library, the Annenberg School for Communication and Houston Hall. The Vagelos Labs of the Institute for Advanced Science and Technology were unveiled in November after two years of construction. The building, at 34th Street and Smith Walk, houses two interdisciplinary research centers -- the Institute for Medicine and Engineering and the Center for Excellence in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Funding for the project came from a $10 million donation by University Board of Trustees Chairperson Roy Vagelos and his wife, Diana. Vagelos, a 1950 College graduate, is the former chairperson and chief executive officer of New Jersey-based Merck & Co., a large pharmaceutical company. Additional funding for the construction came from $27 million in grants from the U.S. Air Force. Another long-awaited project that was unveiled this year was the restored Logan Hall -- the second-oldest edifice on campus, built in 1880 -- which has been undergoing renovations for more than seven years. The building, at 249 S. 36th Street, reopened in mid-January after a lengthy external restoration process and $9.2 million worth of interior renovations. Logan Hall is the first completed step in the $69 million Perelman Quadrangle project, which is designed to create a student center linking Irvine Auditorium with Logan, Houston, Williams and College halls. The project is scheduled to be completed in about two years. The restored building includes a 330-seat auditorium, a terrace room, several classrooms and seminar rooms and a ground-floor art gallery. It now houses the College office along with the History and Sociology of Science, Philosophy, Religious Studies and Classical Studies departments. The Women's Studies program and the Benjamin Franklin Scholars and General Honors offices are also now located at Logan. Also in January, students accustomed to the spacious study areas of the Rosengarten Reserve and the first-floor reference area of the Van Pelt Library found these spaces closed off with plastic tape and temporary partition walls as the library entered the fourth phase of its massive rehabilitation project. Phase IV, the renovation of the facility's main entrance and circulation center, should be finished in August. Phase III of the project -- which saw the addition of new reference facilities and study areas on the library's first floor -- was completed in December, just in time for students to try out some of the new spaces during final exams. The heavy construction work going on in the library over students' heads and under their feet as they studied, however, sparked some concern toward the end of the school year. Several students, for example, said that they feared some of the drilling and demolition work may be releasing carcinogenic asbestos fibers -- dangerous above certain densities -- into the air. Indeed, some asbestos, but not enough to be hazardous, fell from the ceiling into an area in Rosengarten where more than a dozen students were studying January 21. At the time, environmental health officials said the construction posed no danger. Students also complained that the library's temporary early closing hours were leaving them without a place for all-night studying. The library returned to its normal hours in April. Further down Walnut Street at the Annenberg School, construction has been going on since October to renovate the older section of the building and replace the Annenberg School Theater with a teleconferencing center linked to the Annenberg Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Part of the two-year, $15 million renovation project will involve making the school's entrance on Walnut Street more visible. The Annenberg library and graduate students' offices have been temporarily relocated to 4025 Chestnut Street during the construction. Relocation was a big issue this year for many student government groups, campus organizations and performance art groups based in Houston Hall, as University officials prepared for the historic student union's shutdown in late May by slowly assigning individual groups to new sites. Houston Hall is undergoing renovations to link it to the future Perelman Quad and must remain empty while construction takes place.

Mixed results in frats' attempts to curb door fees

(06/01/98 9:00am)

Susan E. Wagner High School '96 Staten Island, N.Y. The InterFraternity Council, which governs the campus' Greek fraternities, has taken several steps over the past year to improve its enforcement of a law that prevents charging door fees at house parties. But a number of incidents in which students said houses charged them to enter parties have made it clear that not all fraternities comply with the law, which requires establishments -- including fraternities -- to obtain a liquor license before charging fees at an event when alcohol is being served. Earlier this spring, IFC officials said charging was no longer as big of an issue as it was when the University first began enforcing the law in 1996. At the time, a majority of fraternities charged door fees. And indeed, over the past two years, many of the IFC's 27 fraternities have consistently complied with the law, often funding events with their own money. But in March, St. Anthony's, or Delta Psi, was investigated and later sanctioned by the IFC's Judicial Inquiry Board for charging door fees at their Mardi Gras party. Students who attended other parties that month hosted by Delta Kappa Epsilon and St. Elmo's, or Delta Phi, said that those fraternities also charged a fee to enter. Zeta Beta Tau President David Greenspan explained that whether or not a fraternity decides to violate the law and charge money may depend largely on its size and frequency of events. "We have 90 brothers, so for us [to pay] a $900 penalty would be pretty stiff," said Greenspan, then a College senior. "For other houses with 40 or 50 brothers, it's almost worth it to suck up the fines." The allegations prompted the IFC to revise its enforcement mechanisms. On March 29, the body officially increased the charging penalties to $30 per brother and an automatic 10-week social probation. The board also eliminated a distinction giving first-time offenders less social probation than second-time offenders. While IFC President Josh Belinfante, a then-College junior, said he was confident the new penalties would finally create a level playing field and prevent further violations of the law, the issue resurfaced even after the penalties were increased. During April's Spring Fling weekend, students again alleged that DEKE brothers charged them to enter a house party. Others said that Tau Epsilon Phi brothers charged them to enter an off-campus party. But while inconsistent compliance remains a problem, other Greeks questioned the University's enforcement of the law. The state regulations are rooted in a Prohibition-era law which effectively defines any establishment charging fees at a party as an illegal speakeasy. But several students said they are skeptical as to whether the law applies to private parties. Mike Steib, a then-College senior and former IFC judicial manager, said the charging regulations, "which are enforced at very few other schools" are being enforced by the University to crack down on fraternities and drinking, not simply to prevent charging. Others agreed that there are less open parties on campus now that fraternities are unable to recover the costs of the events through door fees. Steib explained that the officials who drafted the laws surely did not do so with the intent of preventing hosts of parties from recovering incurred costs, but rather to diminish the prevalence of unlicensed bars. Still, University officials say enforcement of the regulations is necessary because of liability risks to both the fraternities and the University in the event someone were injured and sued the University. OFSA Assistant Director Tom Carroll explained that in a 1992 incident at Phi Kappa Psi, brothers were arrested after Liquor Control Enforcement agents found out they were charging money. Since the University insists it cannot legally cease to enforce the law, the IFC has sought alternate means of funding social events. For the second year in a row, the board asked the Undergraduate Assembly, Penn's student government body, to allocate money for IFC events. After rejecting that proposal last year, the UA passed a motion this year to allocate $30,000 of their 1998-99 budget to a discretionary fund to be used for non-alcoholic, campus-wide events. Greek officials pointed out that the money can help compensate for the decreased number of fraternity parties. "We're trying to make up for the lack of social programs we see on campus," Belinfante said.

GUEST COLUMNIST: U. should put security first

(05/21/98 9:00am)

The University promised to avoid knee-jerk reactions in response to the shooting outside the Palestra following the Philadelphia Public School league basketball championship in March. Unfortunately, we apparently have been given a typical over-reaching response to what was thankfully an isolated incident. The formation of a committee to review every proposal for a major campus event or visit is a sad attempt by the University to micro-manage the public perception of community events. Universities are supposed to be a forum for challenging contemporary ways of thinking. To have a committee overseeing the acceptability involved in hosting challenging events only highlights this administration's interest in stifling events with its desire for a positive public image. As well for who? The only issue should be that of security. In case anyone has forgotten, we employ a tremendous number of people who can properly handle security issues on this campus. Ultimately, the only role this committee can serve is as censors, a dangerous arena for a leading intellectual institution to be dabbling in. With regard to the basketball game itself, there is no rush to announce a decision as long as it does not unfairly hinder the Public League from finding a potential alternative site. What that decision must ultimately be, however, should not be in doubt. For next year, at least, the Public League needs to find a new home for its championship game. Hopefully the League itself will elect not to return to the Palestra next year. The attention on the event, which every year is considerable no matter what the circumstances, will likely focus next year far too much on this past year's tragedy, and far too little on the achievements of the teams and their coaches. Anxiety both on the court and in the Palestra will be too high to allow the event to remain an unadultered celebration of sport. If the game goes off without incident next year, then we can discuss the merits of having the game return to Penn. Students have a right to feel safe and a right to be protected by the University, but they do not have a right to close their eyes to the world and disallow the opportunity for any organization, basketball or otherwise, to prove with evidence that it can create a positive experience for the University. The DP also reported that the official memo discussing the new committee says events must be brought up before the committee if they have "significant public safety or security dimensions, significant open expression implications, significant public relations challenges or opportunities, the potential to attract a particularly large University audience [or] the potential to attract a particularly large external audience." This is a dramatic instance of over-managing a reality -- the potential for violence -- which the University ultimately has limited control of. Events with "significant safety and security measures" are the responsibility of the police and security forces on campus and in Philadelphia. Each year these two forces show the ability to smoothly handle an influx of 90,000 people during Penn Relays weekend. The new committee will have little data or insight of which the security detail on this campus is not already aware. If an event is deemed too dangerous to hold on campus, let Penn Police make that decision and notify the event planners. Furthermore, the committee is setting itself up for unimaginable attacks on its choices of which events to review. In her memo, University President Judith Rodin stated that the committee will not "reject any event based on the anticipated content of speech at the event." Rodin is treading a thin line here, having already faced a lawsuit from a University worker who claimed to be fired after being seen in pictures taken at a Louis Farrakhan rally. Race plays an integral, if unstated, role in how this committee will be viewed. It is not worth the potential uproar from constituencies which feel slighted for whatever reason. This University knows that there are always groups waiting in the wings to pounce on any perceived inequity. This committee will be a goldmine for these destructive and annoying tendencies. The University promised to consider the situation carefully after the tragic shootings outside the Palestra. It rightfully did so in private. Any new review policies such as the proposed one should have remained private. Cut the basketball game loose for a year to allow the game to escape the memory of last year's incident. Cut the committee loose before it publicly and unnecessarily intervenes in events and damages the Penn's credibility as a home for free expression.

SENIOR COLUMN: The human side of writing

(05/15/98 9:00am)

I arrived at the stadium three hours before game-time to soak in the atmosphere. The players were scattered around the clubhouse, some eating breakfast, some watching TV and others taking naps. To all the veteran reporters in the locker room, it was just a typical Sunday afternoon at the ballpark. But to me, it was the culmination of a dream. I didn't care that it was just the last-place Phillies and not my hometown Pirates or the Yankees, who I followed as a child. I was in a major league clubhouse, sitting next to Curt Schilling, Gregg Jefferies and Ricky Bottalico. I searched the room for relief pitcher Ken Ryan, who I was doing a feature on, but he hadn't arrived at the stadium yet. So I struck up a conversation with a writer from The Philadelphia Inquirer. After about 15 minutes, though, the Phillies' public relations director interrupted us and announced that the team had just released pitcher Steve Frey. Within a few minutes, Frey walked out of manager Jim Fregosi's office and began to clear out his locker. The seven or eight reporters in the clubhouse quickly surrounded him and began asking about his plans for the future and his opinions about the Phillies organization. Frey continued to pack up his equipment into a cardboard box while answering the questions. By the end of the interview, his entire locker was clear, except for two photos taped to the inside of the locker door. One was of his wife, and the other was of his daughter. The reporters moved across the room and began talking amongst themselves. Frey sat down in a chair in front of his locker and just stared at the photos on the inside of the door. He sat there motionless for about 10 minutes, while his teammates had gathered around the TV to watch SportsCenter on ESPN. Finally, he stood up, gently pulled the two photos from his locker, and walked out of the clubhouse with the cardboard box under his arm. To tell you the truth, I can't even remember who the Phillies played that day, and I can't remember a single pitch from that game. My only memory from my dream day at the Vet is the image of those two photos and Steve Frey's empty locker. That troubles me. Of course, I realize that sports don't affect lives in the same way that medicine, public policy and business do. But sports is about people, and people are important. When I read the Inquirer and Daily News the day after Frey was released, the stories suggested that the decision was long overdue. That may have very well been the case. After all, Frey was struggling mightily and was taking up a roster spot that could have been used to bring up a younger player and build for the future. But all of the sports writers neglected the human side of the story. Frey had been in the Phillies organization for a number of years and was nearing the tail end of his professional career. When he cleaned out his locker at Veterans Stadium, he had to know that it was likely his last serious chance to stick around in the major leagues. To the Phillies beat reporters and their editors and probably the majority of the newspapers' readers, the little story on Frey was nothing more than a sidenote to the game result. But to Frey and his family and friends, it was the most important story in the paper. And regardless of his inability to clock 90 miles per hour on a radar gun or consistently throw his curveball for a strike, Frey deserved his dignity. At the DP, that balance of honesty and compassion is especially difficult because reporters are in such close contact with their subjects. You may be in the same French class as the soccer player you are covering, or the cross country runner that you have to interview might live down the hall from you. That makes the task of being critical yet polite particularly tricky. Three years ago, after I had written a particularly stinging article about the men's swimming team, I got a visit from a member of the team at my dorm. He stormed into my room and threatened that he would be back if I ever wrote something as negative again. At the time, I blew him off and wondered why he was so upset by one of the dozens of articles I had written, many of which were extremely complimentary. A few years of reporting experience has given me some perspective on the event. Although I still stand by the words that appeared under my byline, I now understand the swimmer's reaction. Although I have written more than 200 articles in the DP, The New York Times and various other publications, the subjects of those articles have had relatively little time in the spotlight. One uncomplimentary article in the DP might constitute 25 or 50 or even 100 percent of the publicity an athlete will ever receive for his or her hours of dedication in practice and competition. That is an awesome responsibility for all reporters. My fellow DP writer may have been right that sports, in essence, are not important. But the people who coach and compete in sports most certainly are. Although the duty of a reporter is to serve the readers by always accurately portraying news as it occurred, it is also important to consider the impact that every article will have before it runs. That is not to say that an unflattering story should be held or even edited. But reporters and editors should be aware of all the possible implications of a story ahead of time. Always treat every story like it is the most important story in the newspaper, because to somebody it is.